This Healthy Snack Could Actually Be Ruining Your Diet. Here's Why

It may have never crossed your mind that there are some startling surprises lurking in your favorite healthy snacks, but things aren't always what they seem to be. For example, an afternoon pick-me-up of celery stalks and carrots dipped in a side of hummus sounds like a smart choice, right? Not always. Although the popular Middle Eastern condiment is full of essential fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and heart-healthy, non-saturated fat (via Healthline) —  the vast majority of store-bought hummus also contains an astronomical amount of salt, per The Guardian.

In fact, the outlet says that out of 108 different types of hummus surveyed by the Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH), not a single product received a passing grade for healthy sodium content. The study revealed that hummus brands at the highest end of the spectrum contain upwards of 1.5 grams of sodium per 100 grams of the savory spread. To give you a better idea of how excessive that is, there's more salt in about 6 1/2 teaspoons of hummus than in four bags of chips. Yikes.

Hummus can contain a massive amount of hidden salt

The FDA says that, unfortunately, almost three-quarters of dietary sodium comes from hidden sources like pre-packaged foods, which makes it challenging to keep track of overall intake — especially since those high-sodium items don't always taste super salty. The article reminds consumers to reference packaging information, and recommends products with a 5% or less daily value of sodium per serving to minimize the risk of heart disease and stroke.

If you can't find the right hummus at the market, an ideal way to have control over the quantity and quality of ingredients is to make your own, according to Healthline. The traditional recipe for hummus is simple, and combines mashed chickpeas with tahini (sesame paste), garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil, then customized with savory combinations of spices (via Inspired Taste). Additional veggies can be blended in to maximize flavor and nutrition. This option from food blogger Tori Avey adds jalapeño, radish, cilantro, and cumin to her hummus for a spicy zing.